An increasingly ageing population has opened up debate on a previously obscure area of law – human rights for the elderly.
To establish the needs and rights of elderly people and those who care for them and to establish a series of recommendations which could influence legislation.
Paragon Law and The University of Nottingham have received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a PhD study entitled ‘Modelling an international normative framework for the promotion and protection of the elderly.’ The research will address how international human rights laws apply to the experiences and situations of elderly people.
Still in its infancy, the project aims not only to examine current international law and its efficacy, but will ultimately provide a working model to assist pressure groups with championing the rights of the elderly.
Paragon Law is a leading law company based in Nottingham with a special interest in human rights, therefore it was “a natural collaboration to work with the leading human rights academic centre – the Human Rights Law Centre at The University of Nottingham,” according to Thalej Vasishta, Managing Director of Paragon Law.
Paragon Law has worked closely with Professor Michael O’Flaherty and Professor David Harris, co-directors of the Human Rights Law Centre. The collaboration has led to a human rights law scholarship being established, and a high-profile annual human rights lecture being set up.
Now, in the first collaborative doctoral award of its kind, the University and Paragon Law have received funding for PhD student Amanda Waldram to conduct a three-year study into human rights issues for the elderly.
“It’s the next big issue in the field of human rights,” continues Thalej. “At the moment there is standard UN protocol in place for women and children, but nothing for the protection of elderly people.”
The project will examine the international rights of elderly people to draw comparisons, although Amanda will use the UK as a case study. The study will be split into four sections: what is the human rights experience of the elderly?; what are the human rights priorities of the elderly?; does international human rights law deliver?; how could the law be improved?
Paragon Law will be an active partner in the research, providing resources and facilities, and offering access to their contacts and networks.
“We have an existing community law department which represents the elderly, and Amanda will draw on this experience as part of her research,” continues Thelaj. “This is an area of our firm which we’re planning to expand heavily, and her findings will help us in this.”
As part of her research, Amanda will work closely with age-related organisations, such as Age Concern and Saga. It’s expected that her finished research will take the form of a working model which these, and other pressure groups, can use in trying to influence legislation and champion the rights of the elderly.
“This will be the first document of its kind, and will help these groups to develop points and arguments when they’re lobbying for change,” adds Thelaj. “At the end of her research, Amanda will be the definitive expert in this area. It’s a very exciting project, especially as it’s the first collaboration of its kind between a university and a law firm.”
Collaborative studentships are funded by Research Councils and provide financial support for your firm to employ a PhD student to undertake a research project of your choosing. We provide academic support for the student, and they also have access to our facilities and resources.